Washington, Dec 14: Struggling hard to restore its ties with Pakistan in the aftermath of NATO air strike last month, the Obama Administration on Tuesday said that it has not cut any civilian aid to Pakistan, noting that this is an on-going move in the Congress right now.
“Well, first of all, just to clarify what has and hasn't happened here in our understanding. We have not cut USD 700 million in aid to Pakistan,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.
“What we have is something on the defense authorization bill, which is currently moving in the Congress, which would require the Department of Defense to continue providing a strategy on how we will use certain military assistance and measure its progress, in particular on progress that we are making with Pakistan on the IED issue,” Nuland said in response to a question.
Leaders of a US House-Senate negotiating panel yesterday had agreed to freeze USD 700 million in aid to Islamabad.
In a statement issued late last night, negotiating panel of the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously agreed to freeze the USD 700 million aid to Pakistan pending Pentagon's delivery of a strategy for improving the effectiveness of such assistance and assurances that Pakistan is countering Improvised Explosive Devices networks in their country that are targeting collation forces.
“If this legislation becomes law, we'll work with the government of Pakistan on how we can fulfill the requirements. But this requires us to maintain a strategic perspective and to be clear with our Congress about the strategy,” she said.
“As you know, this is a subject that the US and Pakistan have been working on for some time together, both through DOD programs and through State Department programs,” Nuland said.
The spokesperson did not comment in detail when asked about the conference of the diplomatic corps in Pakistan chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
“I don't have a comment specifically on the outcome of the conference. I don't have full information from our embassy after the conference. I think you know our view that while this relationship is sometimes difficult, it's very important for the US and Pakistan to continue to work together, particularly on threats that face both of us,” she said.
“Our dialogue with them continues on how we can do that together,” Nuland said.